The last couple of weeks I was getting a bit stressed about our hotel situation. Most specifically how much we were forking out per night for two rooms. ‘Stress’ may not be the right word, but I was certainly getting a little melancholy about our lack of free hotel nights and the cost of paid stays as we ventured away from major destination cities and my beloved hotel chains.
What About All Those ‘Family Friendly’ and ‘Cheap’ South East Asia Tales?
And, as I’ve quickly learned on this RTW trip, I’m
a bit a lot more of a princess than I thought I was. All those $20 room nights I’ve read about on South East Asia travel blogs… ? Turns out they’re not for me.
I know, I’m ashamed of myself too.
I knew I wasn’t in the ‘budget backpack’ category. But I thought I was solidly in the ‘flashpacker’ zone for sure. Turns out my threshold seems to be at the low-end of luxury. Ah well.
Add in the lack of true ‘family friendly’ accommodations and our cost of shelter more than doubles. Yes! When we have to pay for them at the non-chain hotels, our nightly cost more than doubles. Even at the shitty end of the hotel scale.
Have a kid under two? No problem, they can stay for free. Even multiples. But when we add a third child to our mandatory two rooms (even one who is only ten) the nightly rate often goes up 50%. Trust me. I’ve spent hours on booking engines in the last few months. I’ve been caught by the great $25 entry fee for an okay room. Add in VAT and service charge, $30. Still sounds good. Two rooms $60. Still great. Add in Ben, $90. See what happened there? Countless times. How in the world!?! I’ve vowed that next time we’re going to book three rooms. Just because. And damn, that was all in US dollars. It’s somewhat painful converting to Canadian.
Oh, and for any arm-chair travellers out there, I have asked on arrival at several hotels for ‘walk in’ rates and get the same kind of thing.
What’s a Princess to Do?
So, to motivate myself to get some balls and hopefully lower my standards, this morning I tallied up our out-of-pocket costs for accommodations…
Tonight will be our 77th night on our round the world travel adventure.
There is nothing significant about 77. It’s simply the day I was curious to know what our average nightly accommodation cost was and finally did the math. Okay, I was curious earlier but finally got enough time on the laptop to crunch some numbers.
Aside (yes, long-winded):
Since we’re on the topic and for anyone curious, between the five of us we carry one MacBook Pro, two MacBook Airs, four Samsung Galaxy Tabs and one old iPad that takes crappy pics. Oh, and an iPhone and an LG something. Neither of which we bothered to add new SIM cards to make them useable here in South East Asia, even though it’s incredibly cheap. Two of the laptops are continually used for homework. And Rob is the only one writing posts here these days so he gets first dibs on the MacBook (thank you Rob btw). I do most of the destination research and hotel and transport reservations on my iPad, but it sucks for lengthy writing.
Sorry for the Rant and Rather Long Introduction – Without Further Ado…
Our total out-of-pocket accommodation costs so far and including tonight …. in Canadian dollars… is $3,764.58.
Averaged over 77 nights, it’s a not so whopping $48.90.
Out of the 22 different venues we’ve slept at so far on this trip, only two of them allowed the five of us to share a room, the Westin Miyako Kyoto in Japan and The Kabiki in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Both these stays were ‘free’ using hotel points or travel reward cash back points.
So given that any paid stays required two rooms, I need to divide by two, which brings our nightly per room cost so far to only $24.45. This is important for any one travelling as just a couple. Which I quite covet right now.
This is $24.45 Canadian dollars. Per room per night. Not too shabby. But yes, more than half our room nights have been completely free. Thank Ganesha (when in Rome)!
Recently, being obliged to paid stays with no Starwood or Marriott hotels in places like Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi Thailand, I’ve been struggling to stay below $125 Canadian per night for two rooms including taxes and the third person charges.
Why Be a Cheapskate?
Well, I don’t think it’s cheap for one. And we’re not on a two week vacation.
Sure, we set aside a good chunk of money specifically for this RTW trip and we even have a regular income coming in.
But think of this. Even if I could keep our hotel stays below $100 per night, which I can’t, our accommodation costs would exceed $36,000 for the year. That’s simply absurd.
I wouldn’t pay this much for accommodation of course. There are many other options like short-term apartment rentals, AirBnB, VRBO etc. I’d be relying on these types of accommodations if we didn’t have all the points and miles we’ve saved the last few years. And points will only take us so far.
So it seems that by averaging in our free stays through hotel points and cash back rewards, I can relax a bit and not worry so much about having accommodation costs in the realm of well over $36K for the year-long trip.
Our nightly cost is only going to go up as we move on to Europe. And hopefully back down again in South and Central America. South Africa will mostly be free again as there is a huge variety of low category Marriott hotel redemptions under the Protea brand which I’ve already booked.
Thank Ganesha for Points!
As always, thanks for reading and we’re thinking of you all,
We’re in Kanchanaburi Thailand right now (think Bridge on the River Kwai, Death Railway and Hellfire Pass).
We head to Bangkok in the morning for a flight to Singapore. This wasn’t in our original plan but I’m practicing flexibility and trying to fly by the seat of my pants. After Singapore, we’re heading back to northern Thailand for our last couple weeks in South East Asia before moving on to Italy.
And to a cooler climate which we’re all looking forwarding to.